Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Image retrieved from IMDb

Ralph Breaks the Internet is aggressively bad.

I went into it hoping that there would be more to the story than what the trailers showed. It seemed like it was just a giant cash grab (like a lot of sequels these days) that was relying heavily on product placement and references to their other brands and characters.

Well there was no hiding what they really wanted to do. What the trailers telegraphed is what the movie delivered. It was a by the numbers story about two friends that delivers absolutely nothing original. This movie banks on the fact that people recognize and love Wreck-It Ralph and the rest of Disney’s properties, so they will want to go see this movie. And it will probably work, unfortunately.

The first Wreck-It Ralph had cameos from well-known video game characters, but the story was about Ralph and Vanellope – two characters who were created for the movie. Ralph Breaks the Internet takes any chance of originality and smashes it like a building from Fix-It Felix Jr.

It starts off well enough, with Ralph and Vanellope on a mission to buy a new part for the Sugar Rush arcade game so Vanellope will have a place to live. But as soon as they get into the internet, everything falls apart. I never bothered to see The Emoji Movie, but I imagine this is what it was like. The main characters shop on eBay, try to make a viral video, venture into online gaming, get hit with popups, and so many more unnecessary actions that shove it in your face that these characters have entered the internet.

In its attempt at something smart and insightful like Inside Out, this movie falls well short. It tries to sell you on the problems that come with too much of the internet, but it throws in too many references to let anything stick – especially when Vanellope winds up in a room full of Disney princesses. The movie is trying to be self-aware and to subvert tropes that are used over and over in these princess movies, but the meta nature of the whole thing is so inconsistent with the first installment in the series. And when it tries to subvert these tropes, it ends up falling right back into them.

I wanted this movie to show me something I hadn’t seen. Rapunzel from Tangled asks Vanellope, “Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big strong man showed up?” This is a great question to ask! It’s simple and can send a good message to the target demographic of the movie. But over and over, the movie gives itself the chance to follow up on this question and subvert this trend, and it ultimately falls short.

The only positive things I can say about this movie are that it is genuinely funny at times – even though it insists on reverting to toilet humor more times than necessary – and there are some really fun action scenes. Unlike Incredibles 2, the animation doesn’t look any different from the first time around and it feels like we’re right back in the world of the arcade.

But overall, Ralph Breaks the Internet has high hopes that it fails to reach in any capacity. Its attempts at being meta are cringe worthy, especially in the credits, and just bring down the overall quality of what started out with having the chance to be very good. The only thing Ralph wrecked in this movie was his reputation.

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